This quiz is designed to motivate you to study the Gauḍīya Vaiṣṇava scriptures in specific, and the Sad Darshanas in general, which are necessary to understand Gauḍīya philosophy properly.
Jnana or knowledge related to bhakti is also part of bhakti. In fact, hearing, which includes studying shastra, is the first limb of bhakti. Learning, followed by consolidating and then testing our knowledge in the form of a quiz is a fun and effective way to help us retain information.
This quiz is in multiple-choice questions format. (MCQs). If you see the response that you anticipated simply click on it. The quiz will immediately show which answers are correct or incorrect so we can learn as we go.
1 / 10
What is the philosophy of acintya-bheda-abheda?
Acintya-bheda-abheda means “inconceivable simultaneous oneness and difference” between Bhagavān and the living being, or in other words, between the conscious energetic Source and Its conscious energy. Energy cannot exist without the energetic and is thus in one sense identical to it. At the same time, energy can be said to be different from its energetic source, because energy is dependent on the energetic and because its actions are perceived to be separate from the energetic. Logically, such a relation of simultaneous oneness and distinction is ultimately inconceivable or transrational.
In this view, like that of Śaṅkara, there is only one vāstava vastu, or ontological existent that is nondual in nature, yet unlike Śaṅkara, it is admitted that unlimited potency of different categories inheres in this one existent. Though the inherence of distinction apparently contradicts its nonduality from the point of view of conventional reason or logic, from the transrational perspective (acintya), it is perfect in keeping with the higher internal laws (or constituting nature) that govern the transphenomenal reality. To take it a step further, nondualism that can accommodate oneness only and not distinction remains impoverished and hence can hardly be admitted as the Complete Whole.
One should not confuse this inconceivable nature of Bhagavān with the inexplicable (anirvacanīya) nature that the Advaitavādīs ascribe to māyā. They claim that māyā is neither sat (real) nor asat (unreal) and is, hence, indescribable. Vaiṣṇavas, however, do not say that Bhagavān and His energies are indescribable, for the scriptures clearly describe the nature of both. Instead, Vaiṣṇavas emphasize that because Bhagavān’s nature and qualities are inconceivable to our limited mind and intellect, He can be understood and known only through śabda-pramāṇa.
Śrīla Baladeva Vidyābhūṣaṇa gives us an analogy to help us understand acintya-bheda-abheda-tattva: Two brāhmaṇa boys, one fair-skinned and one dark-skinned, share an identity in terms of class but are different as individuals. Similarly, Bhagavān and the jīva are one in that both are essentially of the nature of consciousness, but they are different in that Bhagavān is all-pervading, allknowing, independent, and the controller of māyā, whereas the jīva, in the state of conditional identification, is localized, ignorant, dependent, and subservient to māyā.
2 / 10
According to Śrī Brahmā, why has the universe been likened to a dream?
Some philosophers consider the material world to be illusory, having no factual existence, and they compare it to a dream. They say that a dream has no factual existence, since no one experiences it while awake; similarly, this material world is false, mithyā, since it is no longer experienced upon the awakening to realization.
Śrī Brahmā does not accept this view. He does not consider the material world to be imaginary, the mere product of one’s ignorance. The reasoning is that since the material world exists as a potency of the Lord, who exists eternally, it too has existence.
According to Śrīla Vyāsadeva, the Supreme Lord actually generates the objects of the dream state. They are real, but differ, in that the Lord creates them for a temporary purpose, for a particular self. The external world is created for all jīvas, for a sustained period. Vyāsa states this in the following sūtra, “The dream state is also a creation of the Lord, because scripture declares it as such” (sandhye sṛṣṭir āha hi, VS 3.2.1).
Here sandhyā (junction) means “dreams,” as indicated in Bṛhad-āraṇyaka Upaniṣad — sandhyaṁ tṛtīyaṁ svapnasthānam (BAU 4.3.9).
Another reason dreams are considered real is that they sometimes indicate pending events in reference to the waking state. Śrīmad Bhāgavatam describes that when Kṛṣṇa and Balarāma arrived in Mathurā, Kaṁsa detected bad omens while awake and in his dreams as well. These were indicative of his imminent death:
"He dreamt that he was being embraced by ghosts, riding a donkey and drinking poison, and also that a naked man smeared with oil was passing by, wearing a garland of nalada flowers. (SB 10.42.30)"
If dreams were unreal, they could not indicate a real incident. In the waking state, a person enjoys or suffers the results of his past karma; similarly, his dreams bring him suffering or enjoyment. Positive dreams are the result of good karma, and disturbing dreams, the result of bad karma. The Lord allocates the result of karma during our waking state. He does the same in our dream state.
3 / 10
In the Vedic system which of the following is true about transcendental matters?
In the Vedic system, logic by itself cannot self-evidently disclose the Absolute Truth, Bhagavān. In transcendental matters, the final authority is always self-authoritative scripture. Scriptural evidence is so decisive that even if a certain claim defies conventional logic but is supported by śabda-pramāṇa, it should be accepted as conclusively true.
Any standard of truth lower than this would be inconsistent with Vedāntic epistemology, which is based on the axiom that the Vedas emanate from the Absolute and are thus infallible.
4 / 10
In the opinion of Śrīla Jīva Gosvāmī, how should one view Vedic texts that appear to support the radical nondualist view?
In Sanskrit, words have two kinds of meaning — primary, called mukhyā-vṛtti, and secondary, called gauṇī-vṛtti. Vedic scholars say that each word has some particular potency, which creates a specific relationship between the word and its meaning.
Vedic texts that appear to support the radical nondualist view should not be abandoned as ambiguous babblings just because their primary meaning contradicts the conclusion of Śrīla Vyāsa’s trance. Rather, we should interpret these statements in a way consistent with the underlying purport of the Vedas. Accepting them literally would lead to confusion and contradiction, while rejecting them outright may lead to contempt for the apauruṣeya-śabda.
In the opinion of Śrīla Jīva Gosvāmī, one must explore secondary meanings that agree with Śrīla Vyāsa’s experience.
5 / 10
According to Śrīla Jīva Gosvāmī, what is the main intent of referring to the jīva as a reflection of Paramātmā?
Vedānta-sūtra is divided into four chapters (adhyāyas), each having four sections (pādas).
Sūtra eighteen of Chapter Three, second pāda, establishes that the intent of referring to the jīva as a reflection of Paramātmā is not to show that Paramātmā becomes the jīva by reflection, but to show that Paramātmā is distinct from the jīva, just as any real object is different from its reflection. If an object and its reflection were absolutely nondifferent, they could not be distinguished from each other.
Thus, the metaphor of the sun and its reflection in water is used to establish not the oneness of Paramātmā and jīvātmā, but just the opposite. Vedānta-sūtra states, “And for that very reason [i.e., because the jīva is distinct from Brahman], the analogy is upheld, just like the sun and its reflection” (ata eva copamā sūryakādi-vat, VS 3.2.18).
6 / 10
What is prativādī-abhyupagama-nyāya?
Learn more: Vaikuṇṭha-Fall in Grammar?
7 / 10
Which four items were perceived by Vyāsa in samādhi as per the commentary on SB 1.7.4 by Śrīla Baladeva Vidyābhūṣaṇa?
Commenting on SB 1.7.4, Śrīla Baladeva Vidyābhūṣaṇa points out that besides witnessing the self-revelation of Bhagavān, Māyā, and the jīva, Śrīla Vyāsa also saw the time energy, as indicated by such verbs as apaśyat (he saw), sammohitaḥ (the jīva is bewildered), and manute (the jīva considers). How is this? Because all these verbs indicate action, which in turn implies the influence of time.
He further specifies that Vyāsa perceived four items in samādhi, i.e., Bhagavān, the individual living being, Māyā, and time. These four are eternal, as confirmed in the Bhāllaveya-śruti: “The Supreme Lord, primordial nature, the individual conscious being, and time are certainly all eternal” (atha ha vāva nityāni puruṣaḥ prakṛtir ātmā kālaḥ).
8 / 10
According to Śrī Brahmā, which of the following is an attribute of the material world?
In SB 10.14.22 Śrī Brahmā lists three attributes of the material world:
9 / 10
Why were the Purāṇas arranged according to the different guṇas?
The Purāṇas were arranged according to the different guṇas in correspondence with the various desires and psychological dispositions of conditioned human beings.
Matsya Purāṇa, Chapter 53, specifies the number of verses in each Purāṇa and describes the benefits of donating each of the Purāṇas on special days. In that same chapter Sūta Gosvāmī speaks two and a half verses containing a formula for dividing the Purāṇas into three classes, according to which one of the three guṇas of primordial nature they predominantly embody.
10 / 10
What characteristics of the Bhāgavata-Purāṇa are glorified in the Purāṇas?
In Skanda Purāṇa we find a description of Śrīmad Bhāgavata similar to the one in Matsya Purāṇa:
"The Purāṇa known as Śrīmad Bhāgavata recounts the deeds of humans and devas in the Sārasvata-kalpa, explains the way of Supreme Truth in terms of Gāyatrī, and narrates the slaying of Vṛtrāsura. It has eighteen thousand verses. Whoever writes out a copy of the Śrīmad Bhāgavata, places it on a golden lion-throne, and presents it to a worthy person on the full-moon day of the month of Bhādra, will attain the supreme destination. (Prabhāsa-khaṇḍa 184.108.40.206–42)"
* The verses mentioned above are also found in Agni Purāṇa (272.6–7)
Yet another Purāṇa, cited by the Śrīmad Bhāgavata commentator Śrīdhara Svāmī [Bhāvārtha-dīpikā 1.1.1], confirms the epistemological validity of Śrīmad Bhāgavata thus:
"The Purāṇa known as Śrīmad Bhāgavata contains eighteen thousand verses divided into twelve cantos, begins with Gāyatrī, describes the transcendental knowledge (brahma-vidyā) imparted by Hayagrīva, and narrates the slaying of Vṛtrāsura."
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